The Unstoppable Brad Troyer
COLUMBIA - Brad Troyer decided he still wanted to play football after a tragic event left him without a kidney.
Brad Troyer grew up as a do-it-all athlete. He played football, track, baseball, soccer, and basketball, but football holds a special place. It's the sport he just can't walk away from.
It didn't take long for Rock Bridge football coach A.J. Ofodile to notice Brad Troyer's skills. He put him on the varsity team his freshman season.
Coach Ofodile states, "He's an explosive kid running the football. He's a downhill guy... He's about 200 pounds now, extremely strong, get his pads down."
Troyer's always played with toughness, during his freshman season he took a big hit returning a kickoff.
Junior Brad Troyer recalls, "The backside of me landed on somebody's knee that was sticking up and after that it kinda felt like I got the wind knocked out of me. So I got up and jogged off the field and sat down on the bench and it kept getting worse and worse."
"There's just something going on there that wasn't right. His level of pain was getting worse and worse on the sideline," said Rock Bridge athletic trainer Greg Nagel.
Troyer left the stadium at halftime and went to the hospital. X-rays didn't show any broken bones, but doctors had news that was even worse.
Troyer said, "I remember my parents they just kind of had a blank stare on them."
"We've got a major kidney injury here," said Greg Nagel.
"Every beat of my heart made it harder and harder to breathe cause by then my kidney was the size of a football," stated Troyer. "Kind of ironic."
Ironic, but alarming. Troyer needed two surgeries, one of them removed his right kidney.
"I didn't think about it being life threatening at the time. I just kept thinking push through it. Push through it," said Brad.
On the subject, Coach Ofodile said, "Tragic... I thought what a tragedy for this young man to have it cut short. Not only is he talented and have an extremely bring future at the time as a freshman, but he's a 4.0 kid."
But Brad and his family made a decision. The multi sport athlete decided he had more games to play.
Brad said, "They didn't want me to live in a bubble. They wanted me to do what I wanted to do."
Troyer decided he still wanted to play football. So, with specially designed pads, Troyer returned. Delivering hits and taking a few, too.
Greg Nagel said, "His is really built up and it's got a hard plastic shell on it. Custom made for brad."
"My dad calls me the michelin man, but I got to do it if I want to be able to play," stated Brad.
Troyer lost one kidney, but he gained an unmatched appreciation for the game.
"It kind of reminds me that this is not hard at all. There's a lot worse stuff that can happen in your life and not just take it for granted that you can be out here for everything."
Troyer isn't a new situation on the field. Dominique Rodgers-cromartie plays defensive back for the Arizona cardinals in the NFL. He was born with only one functioning kidney and had the other removed when he was five.